NEWS HEADLINES

City grants church, school requests

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The First Methodist Church and Decatur Independent School District both came to City Hall with petitions Monday evening – and both were granted.

The church’s request was that the city “close and vacate” a block-long section of Pecan Street between Church and Miller streets.

City Personnel Earns Honor

CITY PERSONNEL EARN HONORS – Decatur City Secretary Diane Cockrell, firefighter/paramedic James Carr and Fire Chief Mike Richardson were recognized by Mayor Martin Woodruff at Monday’s city council meeting for honors they recently brought home to the city. Cockrell was named 2014 City Secretary of the Year by the North Texas Municipal Clerk’s Association. Carr was named EMS Responder of the Year by the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshal’s Association of Texas at the group’s annual meeting in Lubbock. At the same conference, Richardson was named fourth vice-president of the organization, meaning that in three years he will be the group’s incoming president. Shown are Cockrell (left), Woodruff, Carr and Richardson. Messenger photo by Bob Buckel

“The Methodist Church has acquired all of the block across the street south of the main sanctuary,” City Manager Brett Shannon told the council. “What this will basically do is join the whole property into one tract. Their whole purpose for this is to have room to expand at some future date.”

Councilmembers questioned how common the procedure is.

Shannon said it is not unheard of – but noted it’s usually done on a street that is designated on the map, but has not been developed. Most often it is done when large tracts of property are acquired for development.

Since the action is an ordinance, it requires two readings. Monday night’s action was to approve it on first reading.

The city will reserve utility easements through the street, Shannon said, and both the public works and emergency services departments have signed off on the closure, saying it will not harm the public.

The school district requested the city donate three tracts of property where the DISD administration building now sits.

“It seems that back in 1890 or even before, somehow the city was the owner of a couple of three tracts of land up by where the new administration building is currently located,” Shannon told the council. “It was not discovered until the renovation of that old high school, which was built in the WPA days, back in the 30s.”

He said neither the school district nor the city could find any record that those tracts had ever been transferred to the schools district, although school facilities have occupied the land for more than 80 years.

Shannon asked the council to approve the resolution with the understanding that attorneys for both entities will go over it and make sure it accomplishes the intended purpose.

“Obviously the city has no real need for those three little tracts of property up there in the middle of the school,” he said.

There will be a clause stipulating that if the school district ever stops using the property, ownership of those three tracts would go back to the city.

The council approved the donation.

OTHER ACTION

The council also:

  • approved on second reading a zoning change from multi-family to institutional, allowing a funeral home on Preskitt Road at Old Reunion Road;
  • approved on second reading an ordinance amending the city’s comprehensive plan to allow mixed-use land use on the U.S. 81/287 Business route from Mulberry north to the city limits;
  • approved a replat that also relates to the funeral home project;
  • approved a special-use permit application to allow the sale of the same parcel for the funeral home;
  • granted Police Chief Rex Hoskins’ request to close Chico Street to parking from 5 p.m. to midnight July 2 to accommodate traffic anticipated for the fireworks display at Victory Family Church;
  • appointed Matt Joiner to the Economic Development Corp. board of directors, replacing Roy Eaton, who stepped down from the board;
  • granted a request from the Decatur Main Street Program to close Main St. and Walnut St. for the Agvantage Farm & Ranch Chisholm Trail Days Rodeo parade for a hour on Aug. 23;
  • nominated Mayor Martin Woodruff to the Regional Emergency Preparedness Council.

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